If the 2-time Pro Bowl fullback on your football team is tweeting for more carries, is it all in fun and good competition, or can dissension in the ranks be far behind? When the fullback in question is Le’Ron McClain, I think it’s not necessarily to ruffle feathers, but to remind folks that he can do more than block.
McClain yesterday made public on Twitter his “campaign” for carries, with the catchy slogan “McClain 4 RB.” While Ray Rice became the dominant back last year, and deservedly so, McClain was forced to accept the role vacated by Lorenzo Neal and become the primary blocker in the backfield. The new role meant a decrease in production, as McClain rans for 180 yards last season and scored two touchdowns. In 2008, McClain ran for a personal best 902 yards and scored ten touchdowns. As part of the three-headed monster that season, the strong running game of the Ravens carried the team to the doorstep of the Super Bowl.
Heading into 2010, the Ravens have given Joe Flacco more weapons in the passing game, and Willis McGahee also remains in the backfield with Rice. Finding enough carries to satisfy McClain, let alone all three backs might be a problem for Cam Cameron, especially if the passing games gets an even greater emphasis in the offense. When the team was limited on offense, a heavy dose of the running game served to wear teams down. Now that the offense is poised to become more diversified, can the team count on the running game to do more of the same as fans expect?
I was always a fan of the three-headed monster, and I felt last season they ran away from it too quickly once Flacco started the season so hot throwing the ball. I don’t have a set number in mind as to how many carries McClain should get, but a dose of a bruising runner heading downhill is not a sight many defensive players want to see. I don’t foresee a return to the dominant run-game days of old if the passing game improves. We will see if the McClain campaign results in more carries for the fullback. If the offense can click on all cylinders, making sure the ball gets around to all the backs and receivers to satisfy each player will be a great problem to have.